Archival Site 2004-2006 see See

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Marvel Spectacular #4

Thor and the Recorder are off to confront the Ego, the Living Planet this issue, one of Kirby's most audacious villains of the era, in a reprint of "Behold, The Living Planet" from THOR #133 (1966). Edited reprint, of course, cutting out the second page of a two-page spread, moving a word balloon over. Still looks good, but the original is spectacular, one of the best of Kirby's two-pagers.

It's really a mile-a-minute in this era of Thor, if a Thunder God and an alien archivist fighting against the humanoid anti-bodies of a living planet in the Black Galaxy in order to save Earth from the colonizers of Rigel isn't enough, there's also a stop along the way to set up the next story, which has Jane Foster going to interview for a job with someone who turns out to be the High Evolutionary.

The cover is also from #133, but another, clearer face of Ego is in place of the original. Looks like it might have been pasted up and retouched from an interior panel in this or another story.

Also this issue, "Gather, Warriors", a Tales of Asgard story from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #119 (1965), as the many heroes of Asgard join the quest that Thor and Loki are leading. This story introduces the trio who would become known as the Warriors Three, Hogun the Grim, Frandal the Dashing and of course...

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Volstagg the Enormous. Of course he would be the source of comedy gold in future issues of the book, and starts off great in his debut.

Published 1973

Tales to Astonish #43 - Cover

A dramatic Kirby/Brodsky cover for the Ant-Man series. I love the occasional panel-breakdown cover like this, with some great poses drawing you into the story. And the matches to give a sense of scale are a nice touch.

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Published 1963

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Happy Kirby Day

88 years ago today, Jacob Kurtzberg was born. I hope to get a special post done later today, but until then I've updated the indices of posts over on the sidebar, alphabetical and chronological, so feel free to look at a few random entries among those 445 books with Kirby work.

Real life got in the way of writing what I wanted to for today, so I'll save that for the first anniversary of this site in a few weeks. Lots of other Kirby stuff to read on the web today, including:

The opening of the Kirby Museum site
Mark Evanier's thoughts
Kirby rarities at Dial B for Blog
BeaucoupKevin's thoughts
Nemed House (for you German speakers)
Tom Spurgeon's thoughts

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Thor #252 - Cover

Always a big fan of Ulik, he was a fun character in the 1960s stories, really cool looking, so it was nice to see him on a few Kirby covers in the 1970s.

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Verpoorten inks, with a bit of touch-up work credited to Romita in the Kirby checklist, but pretty minor compared to some.

Published 1976


OMAC #6 - The Body Bank

Following the events of the previous issue, OMAC heads down the subway in pursuit of kidnappers who steal young bodies to sell to the old rich. One of those non-stop action bits with a few weird concepts thrown in. I love that classic style Kirby tech in the medical equipment, and of course OMAC busting through a wall shaking off a crowd of villains is excellent (although the one exclaiming that "He's a one-man army" seems a bit forced).

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D. Bruce Berry inks the cover and the 18-page story. This was in the era of shrinking page counts at DC, so the two-page spread meant for pages 2/3 was shrunk down to a single panel on what was page 4. The original panel that was replaced appears in TJKC #17.

Published 1975

Blue Ribbon Comics #5

This Archie comic reprints most of the S&K content from DOUBLE LIFE OF PRIVATE STRONG #1 (1959), except for the Fly intro teaser. There's also a new cover by Kirby and Rich Buckler (I've seen the pencils to this somewhere, does anyone remember off-hand where they were printed).

One intro page and four stories inside, a total of 25 pages from S&K, setting up the Lancelot Strong character, a revamp of the old Shield character. The character is an odd mix of things, a little bit of Captain America, mixed in with a bit of Superman's origin, as we open with a scientist conducting experiments of questionable ethics on his own infant son to tap his full brainpower. When it looks like his experiments will be stopped, the scientist flees and crashes, leaving his son to be found by an old farm couple, who raise him as their own. He develops powers as a teen, just in time to stop an invasion from an alien monster very similar to the type that would soon be terrorizing Marvel in Kirby stories, and also finds a costume. Then he gets drafted, and his adventures as Private Strong begins.

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More harkening back to earlier stories, "The Menace of the Micro-Men" has a lot in common with one of the YELLOW CLAW stories of a few years earlier.

So while this feature was far from the most original Kirby worked on, the artwork is a lot of fun, so this reprint of it is well worth picking up for some vintage Kirby at an affordable price.

Published 1984


Friday, August 26, 2005

Special Marvel Edition #11 - Fighting Side-by-Side With Captain America and Bucky

A reprint of SGT. FURY #13 (1964), with one page edited out, teaming up the two great WWII based characters of Marvel. This is a really jam-packed and fun story, maybe my favourite Cap story of the Silver Age. It opens up in London with Fury on a date with Pamela, where they watch some newsreels of both the Howlers and Captain America, with Fury noting that while the Howlers clip is met with a "reserved British" reaction, Cap and Bucky get cheers. Later an incident in a pub leads to a brawl between Fury and his usual foil Bull McGiveney, which brings Fury and his men to the attention of Steve Rogers, secretly Captain America.

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Cap and Bucky are off on a mission to Europe to find out about a secret German project, and when they get enough info they send a message to send the Howlers. The Howlers follow, with Fury and Reb making it to the end, where they first encounter Steve Rogers disguised as a prisoner and Bucky disguised as a Hitler Youth, with the two later changing to their costumed identities to take out a tunnel being dug under the Channel to England (the taking out including a panel of one of Kirby's earliest collages).

Dick Ayers inks the now 22-page story while Chic Stone inks the cover.

Published 1973

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Love Romances #83 - Cover

Kirby's first cover to LOVE ROMANCES, I especially love the inking (apparently by Chris Rule according to the GCD) on the hair. The tennis playing girl in the background is also pretty cute.

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Published 1959

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Iron Man #93 - Cover

That Kraken, real quick with the comeback. I bet he was the terror of the schoolyard.

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Al Milgrom inks on this cover, which is pretty good looking.

Published 1976

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Kid Colt Outlaw #106 - Cover

Interestingly, this came out the same month as HULK #3, which also featured a "Circus of Crime". It would be curious to find out exactly what order these were done in. I assume some, but not all, of Kirby's cover-only jobs in this early era were done before any interior work on the issue (thus providing springboards for the stories and character designs). And of course another version of the Ringmaster was a golden age villain for Captain America.

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Dick Ayers inks on this cover.

Published 1962

Monday, August 22, 2005

Justice Traps the Guilty #21 - Cover

More crime work from the Prize days by Simon&Kirby. I especially like the contrast these covers always have from the clean-cut and powerful cops with the grimy criminals, with a very different texture.

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Published 1950

X-Men - The Early Years #11 - The Triumph of Magneto

A reprint of the 1965 published X-MEN #11, this story has the X-Men responding to Professor Xavier's detection of a potentially powerful new mutant, who turns out to be the alien Stranger.

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Of course Magneto also has an interest in powerful mutants, and he gets to the Stranger first. After various battles, we end up with Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch renouncing their allegiance to Magneto (setting up their membership in the Avengers) and the Stranger takes off with Magneto and Toad as samples of mutants to study, never to return (well, never or six months).

Bit of an anti-climactic conclusion to Kirby's last full-pencil issue of X-MEN, but a lot of nice scenes in here. Chic Stone inks the 20-page story and the interior reprint of the original cover.

Published 1995

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Mister Miracle #15 - The Secret Gun

Kirby took the last step on making MISTER MIRACLE more of a super-hero book following the cancellation of its companion books by introducing a kid side-kick for Scott this issue, Shilo Norman. Shilo, a witness to the gangland killing of his brother, is giveb to Scott to protect, but he escapes (as Scott knew he would) to take revenge on his own, and Scott and Barda follow.

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While this last year of MM lacks the cosmic punch of the earlier stuff, it's still a lot of fun, and has some great visuals (Big Barda crushing a canister supposedly containing Scott in a giant nutcracker? Ouch). On the other hand, there were a few more pronounced weaknesses in the script, like the villain Mister Fez (who wears a fez...) with his "Super-cats, eh? I'm too hip to buy that kind of jive".

Mike Royer inks the 20-page story and cover, and in the letter column Steve Sherman answers a few questions on the end of the other books.

Published 1973

Friday, August 19, 2005

Weird Wonder Tales #6 - The Man in the Crazy Maze

A 7-page Kirby/Ayers reprint from STRANGE TALES #100 (1962) in this story, featuring a failing amusement park owner who designs an impossible to solve maze in order to prop up his business. There are some neat little visual bits in the designs inside the maze, although really, they'd have been pretty expensive to build for a failing amusement park. Trap doors, upsidedown rooms, optical illusions. The door giving off an electrical shock would also seem to be a health code violation.

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Eventually he kills a reporter who threatens to expose him, and then confronts the owner of a rival maze (were mazes really all the rage back in the 1960s?), who turns out to be...

Well, the story (in both the original and reprint) say the rival is "Fate", but some of the lettering and art on the last page looks to be changed, so I think it was originally supposed to be something more demonic, maybe "Satan", and changed at the last minute.

Visually a very fun story, especially the weird maze on the first page and all the weird perspective bits inside the maze.

Published 1974

Star Spangled Comics #37 - Cover

I really like this example of the wartime S&K covers. As with many of the Newsboy Legion covers, the focus was on the effort of people on the homefront in aiding the war effort, and it comes across nicely on this one, without being overbearing, and some nice rendering on the machinery.

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Published 1944

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Marvel Two-In-One #27 - Cover

The one TWO-IN-ONE cover by Kirby that won't be in the upcoming collection (so if there's a second volume it'll be one of the most trivial entries on a Kirby checklist). Joe Sinnott inks, and it's a nice action cover, and always good to see the whole FF in action, although Deathlok isn't a character I know much about.

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Published 1977

Kid Colt Outlaw #117 - Cover

Another late-period western cover by Kirby, inked by Sol Brodsky according to the GCD.

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A nice cover, but do you ever wonder if those western stars at both DC and Marvel get together and talk about how in their early days it was so simple, they'd fight outlaws and indians, and then in later years started encountering aliens and dinosaurs and magic boomerangs.

Published 1964

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Upcoming Kirby - Marvel in November 2005

Four Kirby books in the latest solicitations, including some stuff never reprinted.

GIANT-SIZE INVADERS #2 - The story from ALL-WINNERS #2 has never been reprinted, so that makes this a must-have. The other stuff looks like fun, too, and that's a great price for it.

FANTASTIC FOUR: THE WEDDING SPECIAL - Yet another reprint of FF Annual #3. I'm going to hope in vain that we'll get a decent reprint of it this time around (as decent as you can get given the inking, at least). The new story in this issue sounds good, too.

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 9 - Wow, two volumes in one year? That's unexpected. Wonder if that means they'll finish up the Kirby run early next year, or this is just the "have something new when the movie comes out on video" thing. Anyway, each issue has a few pages that haven't been included in previous reprints.

ESSENTIAL MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE VOL. 1 TPB - Not mentioned in the solicitation, but Kirby did five of the covers for books reprinted in there, all but one of his TWO-IN-ONE covers.

Captain America, the Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch – together again, in a brand-new story Written by the legendary Roy Thomas! Plus: The greatest super heroes of World War II unite to battle the Axis powers in INVADERS #1-2 (August-October 1975); the Sub-Mariner takes on the Torpedo Boat Terror, from ALL-WINNERS COMICS #1 (Summer 1941); the Human Torch gets caught in the Carnival of Death, from ALL-WINNERS COMICS #2 (Fall 1941); and Captain America cracks the Strange Case of the Malay Idol, also from ALL-WINNERS #2.
96 PGS. $4.99

Written by KARL KESEL
Penciled by DREW JOHNSON
Cover by GENE HA
A true Collector’s Item celebrating one of the greatest events in comics history – the marriage of Reed Richards and Sue Storm! Hard to believe they tied the knot 40 years ago... and it certainly doesn’t seem that much time has passed to Reed and Sue themselves when a special evening out gives them a chance to look over their entire life together – past, present and future – in an all-new 30-page story by Karl Kesel and Drew Johnson. Also included as an added bonus: Reed and Sue’s original 1965 wedding extravaganza, guest-starring the Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man and a cast of thousands – an epic that could only be told by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby! So, like all great weddings, this Special mixes something old (The original Lee/Kirby FF Wedding Spectacular) with something new (“The Life Fantastic” by Kesel/Johnson) – even though there’s nothing borrowed, and the only thing blue will be any fan who misses this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
64 PGS. $4.99

Written by STAN LEE
Penciled by JACK KIRBY
That’s “Field Trip” as defined in the Lee/Kirby Dictionary, which means you’d better pack that bag lunch in unstable molecules and strap yourself in for a trip around the universe beyond your wildest imagination!

First stop: A little visit to the neighbor’s place, and hanging with the incomparable Inhumans and titanic team-up against Maximus the Mad!

Second stop: Europe. Paris is beautiful in the springtime, but that’s nothing. According to the brochure, Latveria’s lovely year round. You might want to take that visitor’s guide with a grain of salt, though. The savvy traveler never trusts a Chamber of Commerce run by Doombots.

Third stop: Down under. Way down under for a big-time battle with the Mole Man!
Last stop: Now here’s a trip that’s far out. The ever lovin’ blue-eyed Thing gets whisked away on a galactic tour as a gladiator in the scurrilous Skrulls’ slave arena! If that’s not enough outer-space exotica for ya, then welcome yourself to a world wrapped in the Roarin’ Twenties!

With tour guides like Stan and Jack, you’d best make those travel plans today, True Believer. Tickets for this trip are guaranteed to sell out! Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR (Vol. 1) #82-93
272 PGS./ $49.99
ISBN: 0-7851-1846-2

The Thing can’t stay out of trouble, but at least he makes friends wherever he goes! The Ever-Lovin’ Idol o’ Millions teams up with heroes both frontline and forgotten against menaces spanning time and space! Gods! Aliens! Spies! Demons! Dinosaurs! Time travellers! Martial artists! The Living Eraser and the Mountain That Walked Like a Man! A veritable who’s who of history’s horror heroes! Fans of NEW INVADERS take notice of Ben’s team-ups with the Invaders AND the Liberty Legion! Collects MARVEL FEATURE #11-12; MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #1-20, 22-25 and ANNUAL #1; MARVEL TEAM-UP #47; and FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #11.
576 PGS. $16.99
ISBN: 0-7851-1729-6

Human Torch #8 - The Painter of a Thousand Perils

A reprint of the Torch story from STRANGE TALES #108 (1963) in this issue, where, in a theme borrowed from many of the monster/fantasy stories, the villain, a two-bit counterfeiter captured by the Torch, comes across some magic paints left by aliens while escaping from prison. His goal is then revenge, so first he recruits some fellow criminals.

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Nothing establishes supremacy among villains like pulling a three-headed six-armed gorilla off the wall. I also like the giant gun crashing down through three floors. This kind of villain always gives Kirby a chance to draw some weird stuff an fun monsters. Of course the villain's hubris proves to be his undoing.

Dick Ayers inks the 13-page story.

Published 1975

Monday, August 15, 2005

Marvel Double Feature #9 - The Blitzkrieg of Batroc

In a story reprinted from TALES OF SUSPENSE #85 (1967), Cap is hot on the trail of the Hydra agents who have kidnapped the as-yet-unnamed Sharon Carter when he finds that they've led him into a battle with Batroc, the leaper, and his accent of doom.

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Pretty much just a big action issue from that point on, including one dialogue free scene with nine panels of Cap and Batroc exchanging blows until such time as the Hyrda agents prove themselves dishonourable, earning Batroc's scorn. A lot of great fighting panels in this story, and some good characterization in the dialogue.

Frank Giacoia inks the 10-page story.

Published 1975

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Black Panther #4 - Friends or Foes

The Panther, Abner Little and Princess Zanda have made their way to King Solomon's and have to quickly escape with debating the collecting attitudes of the latter two. I especially like the Flame Chariot of Solomon that they escape in.

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Following their escape, the Panther gets roped into yet another quest of the Collectors, for a lost Samurai city and its mysterious sacred water. While this is all admittedly absurd, Kirby's obvious enthusiasm and frantic pacing do make for some good reading, kind of the paper equivalent to fast action movie.

Mike Royer inks the 17-page story and Frank Giacoia inks the cover.

Published 1977

And, just a reminder, two weeks.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Black Magic (DC) #1

Joe Simon's packaged reprints of stories from the 1950s BLACK MAGIC series started off with a trio of great S&K stories from 1954, late in their run on the book.

"Maniac" from v5#2 (#32) is about two brothers, one a bit slow and picked on by the other kids and the other who tries to defend him. A now-cliche bit of misdirection which I'm sure was fresher back then, this story also has some really good use of shadow and some real power in the layouts.

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"The Head of the Family" is from v4#6 (#30) and, well, the (non-Kirby) cover kind of gives away the ending (the original Kirby version did as well), but it's still a fascinating story about a woman brought into the strange family of the man she loves. A classic bit of horror.

"The Greatest Horror of Them All" v4#5 (#29) was one of the stories that was brought up in the hearings on horror comics of the era, and probably seems a bit tame now (I don't know if Simon did any re-drawing on it for the reprint). A good companion piece to the previous story, this time it's the man who falls in love with a beautiful woman who works in sanctuary for deformed mutants. Of course, everything is not as it seems, and it ends in violence as always.

Some great artwork in all of these stories, with strong confident layouts and heavy shadows on the inks. Definitely a strong period for the S&K team, cut short by circumstances.

Published 1973

Friday, August 12, 2005

Tales of Suspense #48 - Cover

Kirby kept his hand in the Iron Man series with the covers for quite a while, including this one which introduced the new armour. Still not sure who actually designed that new look. I always thought it seemed a bit more like Ditko (who penciled the interior story) than any of the other likely suspects.

I like Mister Doll. What a name for a villain. He looks a lot like some of the Challengers villains.

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The Kirby Checklist has this a Brodsky inks, which I'm not sure I agree with. There are some bits that seem like that, but parts of it definitely look like Ayers. Maybe there was some redrawing due to the new armour?

Published 1963

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Devil Dinosaur #5 - Journey to the Center of the Ants

Devil's battle against the alien invaders continues, as he thinks the captive Moon-Boy is dead. With White-Hair and Stone-Hand, Devil realizes that the Swarmers (giant ants) who inhabit the Tower of Death have the power and numbers to take on the invaders, and manages to get the invaders to destroy the Tower, causing the Swarmers to attack in mass.

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Odd, since I'm picking these randomly, that so many cool Kirby insect comics have come up in the past few weeks.

Mike Royer inks the 17-page story, and one strange thing I noticed. See that thick border on the final panel? Every single page in the story has one panel with a border like that, kind of a weird form of visual boldface for the panels. I wonder if that was something Royer did on his own, or something Kirby indicated, or a Marvel thing. Are there any other Kirby comics from that era which have that effect? Joe Sinnott inks the cover.

Published 1978

Marvel Triple Action #29 - Cover

Kirby got a chance to draw the old Avengers in this issue reprinting #37 from shortly after he originally stopped doing the covers. Nice cover, especially with the trademark Kirby crackling energy.

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Dan Adkins inked the cover, one of a handful he did during that era.

Published 1976

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Demon #9 - Whatever Happened to Farley Fairfax?

The middle of the "Phantom of the Sewers" opens with a flashback to Etrigan battling an evil wizard and his creatures in the middle ages, presumably at least partly to have an action scene with Etrigan since he appears as Jason Blood for most of the book, and also to establish some backstroy about what exactly happened to Etrigan/Blood between the fall of Camelot and modern times. A quick scene, but really fun looking, especially the two-page spread.

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Back in the present, Jason has used the Philosopher's Stone (that's the Sorcerer's Stone for you Americans...) to freeze out the Etrigan side of his nature, but Glenda has been taken by the Phantom, a scarred actor named Farley Fairfax, who mistakes her for a woman who betrayed and cursed him years ago. Our heroes pursue, and Jason is able to turn back to Etrigan (first only half-transforming, which looks kind of funny) and arrives in time for the final confrontation.

Mike Royer inks the cover and 23-page story.

Published 1973

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Mighty Marvel Western #26 - Trapped by Dead-Eye Dawson

A 6-page Kirby/Ayers reprint from RAWHIDE KID #31 (1962) leads off this issue. Really odd splash page with an extreme close-up of Dawson with the Kid reflecting in his eyes. The story had Dawson, a special deputy, hoping to make his reputation by bringing in the Kid. He also travels with his young son, Peter. The Kid attempts to flee before Dawson can get together a posse, but winds up in a shoot-out.

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In the end the Kid only has one bullet, and uses it to save Peter from a rattlesnake, earning a pass out of town from Dawson. You'd think with all these lawmen who wind up having their lives or those of loved ones saved by the Kid every month one of them would put in a good word to get his outlaw status changed.

Lovely riding and shoot-out scenes in a fast-paced little story.

Published 1973

Monday, August 08, 2005

Silver Star #4 - The Super-Normals: Are They God's or Satan's Children?

The visual-novel continues as he attempts to rescue his fellow Super-Normal from the out of control carousel. He fails miserably, and after a brief look at Darius Drumm in his realm, where he has Norma held, Silver Star goes out and finds Elmo Frye, another result of the Homo-Geneticus experiment, who manifests his powers as the giant Big Masai, who terrorizes various local gang lords.

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A few interesting things in this issue, although the pacing of the whole series was a bit clunky. One page in this issue has 13 panels, which is an awful lot for Kirby.

Mike Royer inks the cover and 20-page story.

Published 1983

Sunday, August 07, 2005

New Kirby - Jack Kirby Collector #43 - quick notes

Initial reactions to the latest issue, available now in finer comic shops and from TwoMorrows.

The cover is a 1980s Silver Surfer piece, newly inked by Joe Sinnott. The original was kind of loose, so Sinnott does quite a bit of fleshing out of the details, especially on the background, which he's certainly qualified to do (yes, I have a double standard when it comes to requiring faithful inking of Kirby). The original appears inside. The backcover is an early version of Silver Star from the mid-1970s, drawn and coloured by Kirby (and as we find out inside partially digitally restored for this printing) and a few other colour images related to interior articles.

The announcement of the Kirby Museum is up first, including a great photo of Kirby with his parents at age 3, some of the tentative plans for the project and a hint of a SILVER STAR GRAPHITE EDITION to go with the existing CAPTAIN VICTORY edition sometime next year. I'm always forgetful on Silver Star history so I don't know exactly what would be in this.

Mark Evanier's article this time around is on inkers, specifically Colletta. I think he mostly makes good points, although I think in balance he's a bit too generous to Colletta, but then I'm kind of sick of the whole Colletta argument (other than taking a cheap shot on the weblog every few months).

The full story reprint this issue is the 8-page "His Best Friend's Sweetheart" from YOUNG ROMANCE #3, a good early example of the S&K work in the genre, about a girl who waits for her man during the war, and copes with the unwanted attentions of the friend he asked to look out for her both before and after his return. Great stuff, nice look at post-war life in America, plus a nice unpublished TRUE DIVORCE page from the 1970s included for a look at Kirby's last try at the genre.

First Gallery section is devoted to the Captain America story in TALES TO ASTONISH #93, with four full finished pages inked by Sinnott printed full-page next to their uninked counter-parts. Great looking pages, and interesting to see exactly what Sinnott added to the process.

Second Gallery is devoted to 1980s work, with pages from various projects printed with pencils beside the inked versions (plus an unused pencil-only Bruce Lee / Phantom Force page). A good look at the techniques, I was especially interested in seeing the DESTROYER DUCK page, where Alcala used Kirby's main linework but did a lot of his own shading. Also a very nice is the SATAN'S SIX page.

There's a good speech and Q&A session from a 1966 convention in here. Kirby's in fine form, very funny (KIRBY: Roy has asked me to announce that there'll be a refreshment period. ROY: No, a question period. KIRBY: Well, if there's a refreshment period, it's on me). He also mentions the "extras" in his crowd scenes being people from his life, like his brother-in-law or old landlord, which came up here a few weeks ago.

The Kirby Obscura article looks at some more nice 1950s stuff, including one I'm now in love with based on the splash page. "Lone Shark", the story of a mutant killer shark, narrated by the shark. I hope they reprint that. The splash from the DC published "The Two-Dimensional Man" is also great.

A big part of this issue is a series of articles/interviews with people who Lisa Kirby presented with a "Jack Kirby Award" last year, various friends and associates, including a long interview with Steve Sherman and his brother Gary. I haven't read all of those yet, just quickly scanned them and looked at the art included, but there are some interesting anecdotes about the Kirby family life in California. Lots of interesting photos and artwork, including a very different early Devil Dinosaur proposal (originally a modern day "hidden land" type story, including remnants of Atlantis and an old Nazi sub crew) and an unused Captain Victory page and a very odd photo-comic proposal STARBABY (printed in colour on the backcover). Looking forward to reading through this section.

Marvel's Greatest Comics #94 - The Day That Ant-Man Failed

Having a few more pages to fill when comics reversed their shrinking page-count in 1980, Marvel split the Ant-Man story from TALES TO ASTONISH #40 (1963) in two issues of MGC behind post-Kirby FF reprints. This issue has the first six pages (with the last edited slightly, removing two panels to allow for the statement of ownership, which reveals that in 1980 an about-to-be-cancelled book reprinting 10-year-old FF stories could sell almost 100,000 copies a month).

This first part sets up the story of a series of mysterious truck hijackings, which Ant-Man hears about when he gets a signal transmitted from a series of ants. No really. And it gets better, to one of the most beautifully absurd scenes in a 1960s Marvel comic (and there are a lot to choose from). To get to his destination, Ant-Man shoots himself out of a gun, and has a group of ants converge to cushion his fall. Only he overshoots, almost hits a brick wall head-on, but for the quick thinking of his loyal ants.

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Man, that's just crazy. The rest of the story sets up Ant-Man's plan to capture the hijacker, only to find himself suddenly taking ill (and riding an ant to a doctor), leaving the truck defenseless. These early Ant-Man stories aren't the best, but they do have some great scenes, and give Kirby a chance to do some weird perspective shots and of course lots of ants.

Sol Brodsky inks this story, one of the few non-cover examples of him inking Kirby (the other more notable one being FF #3 and #4). It's very nice, a shame he didn't do more inking of Kirby back then. I'm only judging from reprints, so maybe I'm wrong, but he seems to be among the closest to how Kirby would have inked the work himself.

Published 1980

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Adventure Comics #93 - Cover

Just S&K covers on this part of the run of Sandman in ADVENTURE. That's a great looking monster, plus the little bits of business on those strange creatures are nice.

And don't forget to back the 5th War Loan.

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Published 1944

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

True Bride-To-Be Romances #19 - Cover

More mid-1950s romance published by Harvey. I love the older couple in the background on this one, and the blurb "No place is home when a girl marries a rolling stone. Read Trailer Bride!"

With Kirby capable of covers like these, I wonder why so many of the Prize romance books had photo covers.

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Published 1956

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Kamandi #26 - The Heights of Abraham

Kamandi and Ben Boxer make their way up to Canada, now home to giant mutated birds, insects and plants. And it hasn't escaped the grasp of Sacker...

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Lots of big art in this issue, with great scenes like Kam and Ben hitching a ride on a giant bird, the lush mutant plantlife in Quebec, all sorts of giant insects (including more of Kliklak's species) and ending with the introduction of the British bulldog soldier and his giant ant, setting up one of my favourite Kamandi stories in the following issues.

D. Bruce Berry inks the 20-page story and cover, and Kirby handles the letter column himself this issue, interestingly running a lot more critical letters than normal. Also some weird answers. "But save me a lollipop, too, unless you want me to cry real loud and wake up your grandmother".

Published 1975

Monday, August 01, 2005

Amazing Spider-Man #1 - Cover

One of the most famous and oft-reprinted of the Kirby cover-only books, inked by Steve Ditko (obviously quite heavy on the Spider-Man figure, which looks like almost pure Ditko). I do love the layout, with the Torch's flame circling around the rest of the FF and Spider-Man.

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Published 1963

Marvel Milestone Edition - Avengers #4 - Captain America Joins the Avengers

Another from the series of cover-to-cover reprints Marvel did in the 1990s, this one reprinting AVENGERS #4 from 1964. Very odd issue when you try to describe it, with lots of stuff going on. Namor finding Cap, the Avengers finding him later, the Avengers getting turned into statues, Cap finding the alien resonsible, who had been working for Namor and now gets the Avengers' help, Namor attacking the Avengers. Fun, but kind of reads like they didn't know where they were going from one page to the next.

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Lots of great artwork in the story, though, scenes that are at the heart of Marvel mythology. The death of Bucky, scene, of course, the retrieval of Cap. I've always been fond of the cop who had seen Cap as a kid with his "Forgive me, Cap, willya? I- I seem to have something in my eye" line.

George Roussos inks the 23-page story and cover (and they use the cover they always have in the reprints, with the skewed wings on Cap's mask instead of the even ones the original printed version had). Can't say I cared for the look much, just like most of his FF, this one seemed especially rushed especially with the backgrounds, although some bits are nicely done.

Published 1995

--Link-- Evanier on Kirby bio

Mark Evanier has a few comments about the recent Kirby panel, as well as an update on the status of his upcoming biography of Kirby and efforts to make it as complete and accurate as possible.